Lately, I have been thinking a lot about body blame and anger and how truly counter-productive it is. I dare say it actually stunts progress toward our vision for ourselves and keeps us totally miserable.
Lord knows, I have had a TON of anger toward my body (I thought it SHOULD have been different than it was) in my time. Our relationship with our bodies is a mirror of our relationship with our lives and our lives, so I also had a ton of anger toward other people (they should be different than they are), toward my career (the entertainment industry was evil), toward myself (I sucked for not having more will-power), toward the person texting in the movie (they were idiots). Okay, well that one might be true. Anyway, it was very stressful. Now, I am getting a LOT more curious about my anger when I start the blame game and I am encouraging my clients to do the same. I’ve started to experience a new freedom by recognizing my own role in my suffering…and starting to free myself from it.
Frustration, and anger are something we all experience. For some of us it is a daily occurrence. But oftentimes, frustration, anger and the blame that ensues serve as a very convenient layer or tarp from what is underneath, which is far more vulnerable.
In Soul Body System (my group program in NYC), my participants are very forthcoming about the anger they feel toward their bodies. Like MANY, they blame, judge, starve, overstuff, punish their bodies and hold it hostage for simply existing. After all, their bodies SHOULD be different than they are, and in a way, by making it their body’s fault, they avoid something more vulnerable.They avoid the fear beneath it. They are able to avoid being present where they have broken their own promises to themselves, to their bodies, what THEY are responsible for and what they take it to mean about them that they can’t follow through.
They will ask me, “How do I get past the anger?”
The first step in getting past it is OWNING the feeling (I am indeed experiencing this feeling) and then recognizing that it is a cover for something else. Go deeper into it and you will start to mine gold. When my clients go deeper, they often recognize fear underneath. They fear if they don’t change, that they will lose respect, admiration, acceptance, self-recognition, a sense of themselves, control in their lives. When we go underneath that fear, we can see that a part of them is asking for change toward to higher vision for themselves (hitting their body’s sweet spot, body freedom, overcoming binge, deprivation and punishment, speaking to themselves different, feeling differently in their skin, honoring themselves, their truth and their bodies). Underneath is the love, understanding and intuition that led to the program in the first place.
The birth place of the anger is love, but when we have been ignoring the request or resisting the request that love made, it creates fear that we may never change. Our thoughts shift tactics, and start to act like nasty, manipulative middle-school girls. They. Get. Mean.
So, at the root of it all, the anger and the blame is actually toward ourselves, for giving up, for letting ourselves off the hook, for letting the thoughts run the show instead of the commitment we made to ourselves or something else.
The more angry we become at ourselves, at our bodies, the more stressed out we become.
When someone yells at us and says something mean to us, our body reacts, right? It does the same thing when WE yell and criticize it. Cortisol levels go up (storing fat by the way) as our body cowers away from us like a child. We splinter away from each other. That is uncomfortable, so we may turn to food to numb out, to make those feelings go away.
The harder we are on ourselves, the heavier we become, the more layers of protection we need, the more we start to cower and hide. CLICK TO TWEET.
So, how do we hear the message underneath the anger and become more compassionate towards our bodies? Towards ourselves?
1) Interact with your thoughts in a totally new way.
People treat their thoughts as if they are reality, when they are actually just thoughts, and trying NOT to think “bad” thoughts is counterproductive. Judgments about others, ourselves or our bodies float into our consciousness and we act as if they are absolute truth and we have a responsibility to them. Things like “You’re undesirable,” “You’re too fat to….,” “You’re disgusting.” Oftentimes, they are actually just trying hard to spur us into action or protect us. Recognize they are a very natural part of being a human being, and we can change our attachment to them as truth. They are merely a thought.
2) Inquire. Is that absolutely true? Are there examples where the opposite is true?
Engage with the mean judgments from a place of curiosity. The thought, “You are undesirable.” How do you know that to be true? Are there examples of where others have told you or shown you that you actually ARE desirable? Times when you HAVE felt desirable? Flip it around and get curious. You may find you are actually writing a pretty confining story and making the choice to live in it. You are actually creating the prison.
3) Recognize where you have broken commitments/promises to your body.
When you get angry at your body for not being thinner, disease-free, blemish-free, stronger, etc, take a moment to step back and recognize where YOU have actually broken a promise or commitment to your body and made it your body’s fault. Your body didn’t do anything to you. It’s just a body. It’s not its fault.
By blaming it, you are only deepening your own wound. You can’t be cruel to your body and get out unscathed.
4) Take the counter-intuitive action (and act in love).
If you are operating from a place of consistent anger toward your body or yourself and are having trouble getting out of it, recognize you are still a gorgeous work in progress, and make the choice to take the counter-intuitive action. If you want to starve your body because you went on a bender last night, take the counter intuitive action to take extra special care of it the next day. You may just start to experience body freedom in a whole new way.
Rock On and Be Well,
P.S. Did you dig this? If so, share the healthy juju, by sharing on someone you love and make sure to check out Soul Body System to see if it is a good fit for you.